Steve Smith insists he is looking forward to England continuing with their ‘Bazball’ style during the Ashes, saying “they haven’t come up against us yet”.
Smith’s comments came as Australia maintained their grip on the World Test Championship final against India on Thursday.
England have won 11 of their 13 Tests since captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum joined forces last year after adopting an ultra-aggressive approach to red-ball cricket.
But just over a week out from the first Test at Edgbaston, the opener in a five-match series, Smith clearly fancied Australia’s chances of a first Ashes campaign triumph in England for 22 years.
His confidence was well-founded after all five members of an attack led by captain Pat Cummins took a wicket apiece as India reached stumps on the second day at The Oval on 151-5 – still a huge 318 runs adrift of Australia’s first-innings 469.
Asked if England could still bat in dynamic fashion against an Australia bowling unit also featuring left-arm quick Mitchell Starc and miserly seamer Scott Boland, Smith replied: “I think I said it initially when ‘Bazball’ started that I’m intrigued to see how it goes against our bowlers. I’ve said that all along.
“I think it’d be difficult on this kind of wicket – up and down and seaming around – it’s not easy to defend, let alone come out and swing.
“They’ve obviously done well against some other attacks, but they haven’t come up against us yet. So, we’ll see.
“I must say I’ve enjoyed watching the way they have played and the way that I guess they’ve turned things around in the past 12 months or so, but it’s yeah we’ll wait and see how it comes off against us.”
Earlier, Smith helped establish Australia’s grip on the WTC final by spending just over five-and-a-half hours compiling 121, his 31st Test century.
He also shared a partnership of 285 with the more free-scoring Travis Head (163).
The 34-year-old Smith has now scored seven Test hundreds in England, amassing 774 runs in the drawn 2019 Ashes at an astounding average of 110.57.
His figures at The Oval alone are remarkable, with Smith now having scored three hundreds in four Tests at the ground.
“It was nice to spend a lot of time out there against some good bowlers on a challenging wicket after getting sent in,” he said. “I’ll take a lot of confidence out of that and hopefully can keep building and have a successful summer here.
“I think in terms of English wickets it’s probably as close to Australia as you get. I’ve enjoyed playing here and it was nice to score a few out here again.”
India, defeated by New Zealand in the inaugural 2021 final, were in danger of conceding a colossal total when Australia resumed Thursday on 327-3.
But they fought back well in the field, with fast bowler Mohammed Siraj taking 4-108.
“Today if we hadn’t bowled well then maybe there would be 500-550 runs on the board,” he said.
© Agence France-Presse